A bike path extension in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough has residents up in arms after they learned 18 parking spots on Fielding Avenue will be removed in order to complete the project.
NDG resident Domenico Galle says parking spots near the busy street already go like hot cakes.
“It’s very hard to find parking,” he said.
Galle argues having no parking near his home will make simple tasks like grocery shopping a nightmare for people like him.
“Other people, 60, 70, 75 years-old carrying the bags home, it’s not easy to do it,” Galle said.
Domenico Roco is worried about his wife’s mobility issues. He says parking away from his home’s entrance will be a hassle.
“For three years I have to help her out to get out of the house and into the house,” Roco said.
The bike path was built several years ago. After several people complained, the administration at the time excluded two blocks on Fielding Avenue between Cumberland and Bessborough avenues from the path to allow for parking.
The bike path is expected to be completed by next year, according to the borough.
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Jason Savard, a spokesperson for the Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists of NDG, is happy about the upcoming change.
“That is fabulous news,” he said.
Savard says his organization has been pressuring the borough to make the change for years because they feel the existing path isn’t safe.
“Having this gap in this perfect line through Fielding in NDG is just ridiculous, especially with just one per cent of the bike path here having a gap, creating a dangerous situation for cyclists having to veer into traffic,” Savard explained.
The borough says its priority is safety and it is following a city-wide policy to connect bike paths.
“Our priority is to make sure that our bike lanes are safe for people of all ages and abilities and in order to do that, we need to complete existing bike paths and secure the ones we already have,” said borough councillor Christian Arsenault.
Arsenault says residents with mobility issues can apply to a program to get special parking passes.
While he says he feels for those affected, the work must be done and people will have to get used to it.
“We understand it will take time but we need to work in this direction,” said Arsenault.
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The news isn’t easy to hear for those who are desperate for parking spots.
“I don’t think it’s correct to take a piece of bread from one child to give to another one,” said Roco.
Galle and Roco said they will keep fighting to at least have access to parking spots in the winter.
The borough says it is conducting a study on the effectiveness of the several safety measures it is implementing, including completing the Fielding Avenue bike path. It will also look into whether it will allow winter parking on the street.